With our latest installation done and dusted, a break from the heat in Dubai and our current holiday back home to see family, it almost feels like things are back to normal.
However, we are very aware that this is not the case. And although the COVID crisis is not perse something interior styling related, we have (had) a lot to do with it as entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs world wide, big or small, profitable or passionate, commercial or hobbyists, are suffering big time. So whilst people around us are now enjoying a restaurant visit and weekend away again, we do feel that we need to be aware of what is still going on in other parts of the world. And maybe more so; what is still to come.

Entrepreneurship is often born out of just needing to explore. Having two businesses myself (Live Loud Girl and Fronteriors), I know it is something I just needed to do. And the only way to make it work is putting in ten times the effort, the hours and the energy that you anticipated.
It took me 7 years to get to where we are today. Without knowing what the future in a damaged economy will bring, I am lucky that we could stay afloat and keep the team onboard. If I would have lived somewhere else, that might not have been the case and I could have lost everything just in the last few months.

Our team member Roos lives in South Africa. South Africa today is currently one of the hardest hit countries. After being in lockdown for 132 days (and counting) the economy is suffering. Hard! The endless amount of small enterprises, coffee establishments, restaurants, creative initiatives have had to close their doors due to the regulations to flatten the curve. Yet without customers, but with rent and staff to pay, they are now closing down one by one. This is leaving behind a trail of entrepreneurs with shattered dreams, suppliers that are out of business and staff members (often bread winners) without an income.

No one has an idea of where this is going and what the long term implications will be. Entrepreneurs who still have a business will have to be innovative and clever, those who lost a job will have to work harder then ever to get back into the game.

Luckily, we won’t have to sit back and do nothing.
Starting today, we can support small businesses.
Slow down and shop from your local baker, butcher and munger. Get your new summer outfit form a small designer and your bag from a passionate craftsmen. Be sure to go out for some lovely long lunches or romantic dinners not only for yourself, but to show restaurateurs you want them to get through this. With that meal you will be supporting a business, the staff and numerous suppliers.
Let’s do something for those fellow entrepreneurs, especially for those who are unfortunate due to circumstances beyond their reach. Even if it is just a shout out on your social media.

For those who want to go a step further, look around if there is a charity that you can help. Either with your time, your money or just by putting them in the lime light. Use your voice and network to get attention to a project that is close to your heart. Because if you are in the position to help- in any way – this is the time!

A few projects close to our hearts: Sandwich making for Ladles of Love | Coffee shop for charity | Naazneens Soup Kitchen | Photo credits: Simplylifephotographs


After being stuck inside for what feels like a life time, we recently saw the restrictions ease up which allowed us to go out again. And we immediately grabbed the chance with both hands. Not only because we were all desperate to get out of the house. Or that we were we dying to do something other than homeschooling and hiding in our temporary home offices. The possibility to get back to work allowed us to instal a project that we started designing at the beginning of the year. And it felt really good to be back in the saddle.

Apartment time

At the beginning of the year we were happily designing a large commercial project. A challenging job in the sense that we could not see the space, so it was off plan designing. And, like with most commercial projects, we had to be creative as the budget was not sky high. Also, due to the projects deadline, we wanted to source everything locally so we put a lot of time into shop visits and stock checking. And on paper, things started to come together.
Little did we know that the world would be punched in the face, stopping every kind of business. Our orders however luckily had been placed when a strict lock down hit Dubai. And most of the furniture could be delivered over the last few weeks. So on sight, we had rooms and rooms (and roooooms) full of goods just waiting to be placed into their own future home.

Dream team

These 20 hotel apartments belong to the Zaya Al Barari complex. With a tight deadline of 6 weeks from start to finish, we just had to make it work. Even though we could honestly say that a project of this magnitude would normally be way out of our league, our Dutch blonde enthusiasm (being a mixture of naivety, bluff and eagerness to grow ) never made us doubt for one second if we would be able to pull this off.
Yet due to the scale of the project, Live Loud Girl – a team of 3 – could not do this massive installation alone. So we teamed up with my Fronteriors partner, our office sharing/ stylist colleagues / friends from the House of Hawkes team. Couldn’t have done it without them!
Obviously, the world looked very different to when we started the installation. Where safety was never a really fundamental aspect for interior stylists (the chances of being hit in the head by a pendant lamp is pretty negligible), now health, safety and protective wear is a huge thing. So even with temperatures passing 40 degrees, we dressed up into our very stylish overalls accessorizing it with caps, safety glasses and gloves. If you ever want to detox, this is the way!

Commercial projects vs residential spaces

We wanted all units to be styled in a way that goes well with the environment and to allow residents to feel at home. Our focus was on creating a minimalistic and eclectic style with lots of neutrals and natural materials. We chose to paint different walls in each apartment in warmer colors to complement this and give an impact to each space.
Because every person has their own preferences, we mostly selected modular furniture and items that can have various functions. Yet all of the apartments were given the same color pallet and basic style.

Although you won’t see it often on the blog or in my Instagram feed, we do quite a few commercial projects. Last year we did the design and styling of hotel rooms, a beach bar on the palm and we have another apartment complex lined up. Despite the fact that these projects are logistically more challenging than residential spaces, we do try and put our signature on it. Even when budgets are tight or deadlines are tough. But it doesn’t mean we don’t do homes anymore. We believe that our homes have become more important than ever now that we spend so much time in them. So besides having worked on our own home, we also are taking on residential projects again after summer.

Done and dusted

As we have now finished the styling and installation of these 20 apartments, we can’t wait to show you around. This military operation is done and dusted and showed us that we can operate well, even during these bizar times and weird situations. And that is the beauty of our job: it is never the same.
Hopefully this tour makes you feel the heat, the sweat and the passion that we put into it. Because, no matter what the circumstances are, this is what we love doing.

Photography Marli Smit

Interior Design Live Loud Girl in collaboration with House Of Hawkes

Project Zaya Al Barari Hotel Living


I am literally taking a walk On The Wild Side here with a post about beauty products. As this lock down slowed our lives down, I got out of my comfort zone and standard routines. After cutting my own bangs and coloring my hair pink, I thought it would be safer to try new skin care product from France. And in the category “everybody always asks me about my morning routine” (which I don’t think anyone ever does) I will let you know why I want to write about this.

Beauty products? Hear me out…

First of all, On The Wild Side is a new line of skin care products which are organic and 100% natural. The two main ingredients birch sap (detoxifying and revitalizing) and beech buds (regenerating and draining) come directly from their natural eco-system.

Secondly, I have seen lots of beauty bloggers and fashionista’s on my feed venturing out to interior design. I thought it would be a nice little experiment to go in the opposite direction. I am tapping into this new field of blogging with the confidence of Bambi on the ice.

Also, at Live Loud Girl we are passionate about supporting small businesses. Having worked with so many of them in our work as stylists, we know that the passion and dedication a small business owner pours into his or her products is incomparable then a products rolling of the conveyer belt of a big corporate. You see it, you feel it, you know it!

And last but not least, I am in the over-40 club now. That in combination with living in a harsh sunny climate, I want to take care of my skin in the best way possible. I have learnt that we do not need all those chemicals and synthetic products on our skin. I want naturally hydrating and preferably regenerating products that make my skin glow. And that is exactly what On The Wild Side does.


It is always a good idea to re-evaluate your standard routines. Times change, you change, your ideas change. My morning routine is a new one now. And looking in the mirror ensures me it was the right choice.


Summer is definitely here. Where normally around this time of year we would spend our afternoons at the pool and the weekends at the beach, we are currently still stuck inside like the rest of the world.
But that is no reason to ignore the season. Because you can take the boy out of the summer but you can’t take the summer out of the boy!
So here we are, enjoying mellow mornings in the bedroom, weekend brunches in our own kitchen and lazy beach days in the lounge.

Our weekend staycations have slowly become the new normal. Where we were all scratching the doors in the first weeks, we have adapted and become more at ease with the situation. Where I have been busted without make up and still in gym gear at the end of the day, the boys dress themselves properly for their online school days during the week, and for chilling in the weekends.

To celebrate the season, we make an order from Smallable with a selection from Hundred Pieces for my ever growing kids. The main reason? They love this brand! The prints are swanky, the make comfortable and it lasts more than one season. They always seem to grab Hundred Pieces clothing from their wardrobe and you don’t hear me complaining. As a matter or fact, I happen to love their woman’s wear too. But most importantly in this strange time we are in: this brand screams summer all year round!

So even though we can’t wait to get out again to have a proper beach day, we will just stay put, chill out, relax indoors and work on our summer spirit and party tricks until we can go out again. But when we finally do so, we will at least be wearing proper summer gear!

SHOP THE LOOK by SMALLABLE: Navy t-shirt | Get up Stand up t-shirt |Hawaii Bermuda shorts | Funky socks | Cap | Red Shorts

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